UTN Party 'inspired' by PM's belief

UTN Party 'inspired' by PM's belief

Gen Prayut may join Pirapan's new bloc

United Thai Nation Party leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga
United Thai Nation Party leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga

The United Thai Nation Party is open to welcoming Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as a new member, UTN leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said on Sunday, adding the party's name was inspired by Gen Prayut's belief in unity.

Mr Pirapan was responding to questions on whether Gen Prayut will join the party.

"Without any clear gesture, I dare not extend an invitation to him," he said. "The PM previously said he would make his decision either after the Apec Summit or in the new year."

Gen Prayut is an independent, but he ran under the Palang Pracharath Party banner in 2019. Some believe he is planning to run for the premiership again at the elections next year but under a different party.

Mr Pirapan said he met Gen Prayut on Thursday and discussed the possible political implications of the Constitutional Court's interpretation of the organic law on political parties and the organic law on the election of members of parliament.

Gen Prayut did not discuss UTN or any other party, Mr Pirapan added.

"I've been in politics for about 30 years now and I have never seen anyone quite like Gen Prayut before," he said.

"He may sound a bit blunt but deep inside his heart it's always the nation that he thinks about above all other things."

The name UTN, or Ruam Thai Sang Chart in Thai, was inspired by Gen Prayut's belief in unity in development of the nation, he said. So, the UTN stands with all Thais no matter their political belief, he said.

During his visit to Udon Thani yesterday, Mr Pirapan was greeted by a group of about 400 United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) supporters, a key red-shirt political opponent of the government's, according to a source.

Mr Pirapan yesterday confirmed the UTN membership of Rattanawan Suksala, leader of the UDD in the province.

The party's partnership with the UDD in Udon Thani has nothing to do with whether Gen Prayut is joining the UTN or not, he said.

In other news, Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit said many members are anxious about Gen Prayut's delay in seeking royal endorsement for Phatthalung MP Naris Khamnurak as deputy interior minister.

The portfolio was left vacant after Niphon Bunyamanee stepped down to defend a court case. It is unusual for the PM to put the nomination on hold for this long, Mr Jurin said.

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